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U.S. Senate Proposes Making Copyrighted Video Streaming As Illegal As Video Downloading

Piracy Skull and CrossbonesPiracy Skull and CrossbonesMany people are still using the Internet to gain access to copyrighted content without paying for it, despite the various industries’ attempts to curb this behavior. Which inevitably means the laws against it will be tightened and toughened.

Downloading Vs. Streaming

There is currently a huge disparity in the U.S. between the penalties for streaming copyrighted video as opposed to downloading copyrighted video. The latter is regarded much more harshly, which is why streaming has become so popular in recent years.

But the U.S. Senate is seeking to close what it calls the loophole which determines that streaming copyrighted material via the Web is somehow less damaging and less illegal than downloading copyrighted material over the Internet.

The Senate Says ‘Aye’

According to The Hollywood Reporter, at the end of last week the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee backed moves to make illegal video streaming a felony in some cases. Those calling for a change in the law included the Obama administration, SAG, AFTRA, the MPAA, and the Directors Guild of America. The proposal will now go before the full Senate.

NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) President John Fithian said:

”To the technicians, designers, construction workers, and artists who support their families through their work in entertainment, there’s no difference between illegal downloading and illegal streaming – it’s all theft that hurts their work, their wages and their benefits.”

The big issue here is who exactly this change in the law would be targeting. Would it be the websites full of copyrighted material available to stream, other sites that link to these hosts, the people who upload the videos in the first place, or the people who do nothing more than press ‘Play’? Or all of the above?


There really isn’t any difference between downloading and streaming content these days, with high-speed Broadband meaning you can watch what you want when you want with no need to download it for the future. But until the confusion over who is liable is cleared up it’s difficult to get fully behind the bill.


State forensic lab just like CSI?

FRANKFORT — Growing up with two parents working as police officers, Kentucky State Police forensic scientist Vanessa Beall knew she wanted to work in law enforcement.

“I knew I wasn’t brave enough to be a police officer,” Beall said as she tested a fluid sample for the presence of drugs. “But I knew I wanted to do something in law enforcement. I like science. It’s kind of a nice mix of the two.”

Beall is one of 60 forensic scientists at the Kentucky State Police Central Laboratory branch in Frankfort. Scientists work behind large windows surrounded by long hallways to allow lab visitors to see them while they work. Unlike other offices where you might see a cup of coffee sitting on a desk, inside the crime lab, coffee and drink bottles sit on tables outside the lab areas in the hallway to prevent any type of contamination.

Every police agency in the state relies on the forensic scientists in KSP’s six crime labs to process evidence gathered at crime scenes. The central lab is the only full-service lab in the state. Scientists there provide blood alcohol and toxicology analysis, identification of solid dose drugs, trace evidence analysis, firearms, tool marks and imprint analysis, DNA casework and photography. The state’s criminal DNA database is also maintained at the central lab.

Surrounded by instruments, computers, test tubes, droppers and chemicals, forensic scientists there process thousands of pieces of evidence annually from all over the state. The lab is considered a specialist lab because each forensic scientist is trained for his or her particular discipline, said Jeremy Triplett, lab supervisor of the controlled substances unit.

Unlike popular crime television shows that depict forensic analysts making a DNA match or determining the amount or type of drugs found in a person’s blood in a matter of minutes, in real life those test results can take weeks to process from the time the crime lab receives the evidence until it is processed and goes through a peer review analysis before the results are considered complete.

The analysis alone can take a scientist several days to complete on one piece of evidence depending on the type of evidence being processed. Where time becomes a factor is in the volume of evidence sent to the lab for processing.

“It’s really supply and demand, but our currency is time,” Triplett said. “There’s a huge demand, and supply is limited. You can only hire so many people.”

Jack Reid, a forensic scientist who processes trace evidence, said his cases range from simple hit-and-run collisions to murders. He might be asked to process a small piece of fiber to identify what it is and what it may have come from, or he could receive a bed sheet that might contain several pieces of trace evidence.

“When somebody sends a bed sheet, those paint chips, fibers or hair don’t just jump off the bed sheet,” Reid said. “You have to collect the items. Then after you collect the items, you have to identify them. It’s a tedious process.”

Steven Hughes, forensic firearms and tool marks examiner, spent a recent afternoon in a long, gray metal room. The walls inside the room are covered in soundproofing material so that when he fires a handgun into a metal container filled with water, the noise is muffled.

Hughes fired three shots into the water. The water slows and stops the projectile. Hughes then uses a tool to fish the projectiles out of the water. They are then placed in a container and labeled for future comparison.

Later in the day, Hughes - sitting a room surrounded by firearms and bullets - had planned to apply a solvent to the area of the gun where someone had scratched out the serial number. To the naked eye, the serial number is etched out. After Hughes applies the solvent, he will be able to obtain that crucial piece of information, which will allow law enforcement officials to track the weapon’s origin.

In addition to the caseload, forensic scientists are also subpoenaed to testify in criminal cases all over the state, pulling them away from the lab.

But with the popularity of crime television shows such as “CSI,” forensic science testimony is something juries expect to hear.

“One of the first things I always say to a jury in almost any case is, ‘Do you all understand that the “CSI” you see on TV is not any more realistic than the “Starship Enterprise” coming to pick us all up at the end of a trial?’ ” Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron said. “Even with that, it has been shown that ‘CSI’ has had an effect in the way cases are looked at by juries.

“That being said, even in the last 10 years that I’ve been a prosecutor, we’ve seen advances in forensic science that have improved by leaps and bounds.”

For example, the DNA of every convicted felon in Kentucky is maintained in a database. In the event that a criminal leaves behind DNA evidence at a crime scene, that DNA evidence is compared against the DNA samples in the database to see if there is a match.

“One of our first things in any major case is, we are going to triage what forensic evidence we have, try to prioritize it. My office as well as the law enforcement agencies will work directly with the lab to make sure the most serious cases can be expedited. Unfortunately, the lab volume of cases has increased exponentially over their staffing,” Cohron said. “And considering their finite resources, the state police lab does an exemplary job in working with law enforcement and the prosecutors across Kentucky.”

Forensic evidence can demonstrate for a jury the nature of what took place at a crime scene.

For Cohron, one case in particular stands out as an example of how forensic science told the tale of the brutal death of 29-year-old Christina Renshaw, who was murdered Feb. 3, 2006. Her boyfriend, Lawrence Stinnett, was convicted of her beating death last year.

DNA evidence showed that Stinnett beat and kicked Renshaw with his boots.

“We were able to then paint a picture for the jury of the amount of violence perpetrated by Mr. Stinnett on Ms. Renshaw,” Cohron said.

“The processing of the evidence along with the subsequent testing and results from the Kentucky State Police lab helped tell the story of the murder of Christina Renshaw,” he said.

The Daily News, Bowling Green


‘As Seen On’ YouTube Collates Videos Embedded By Blogs and Sites Across The Web


youtube-logoyoutube-logoOnline video clips can now not only form a part of news articles and spark conversations, they can be the very essence which drives debate. And YouTube’s new ‘As Seen On’ feature is a clever way to keep that dialog going.

Embedding YouTube Videos

As anyone who spends any time browsing the Web, and by virtue of the fact you’re reading this I suspect that includes you, will know, YouTube videos pop up everywhere, with websites embedding them to tell, or merely garnish, a story.

Our sister site WebTVHub is entirely made up of video posts, most of which use YouTube as their source. Embedding YouTube videos is so easy that anyone can do it, and everyone does.

YouTube has now decided to keep track of which videos certain sites and blogs are embedding with a new ‘As Seen On’ feature.

‘As Seen On’ YouTube

‘As Seen On’ is detailed in a YouTube Blog post. Essentially ‘As Seen On’ collates the videos embedded on various sites around the Web and posts them all in one place.

Sites such as TechCrunchThe Huffington Post, and Boing Boing have been given their own ‘As Seen On’ pages on YouTube, but it isn’t exactly clear how owners of other, maybe less-trafficked sites, can have their own sites included. It looks like it’s a feature only open to YouTube admins to control.

The ultimate point of ‘As Seen On’ is to help further the conversation being had around these videos. Embedded YouTube clips often form the backbone of an article and drive the debate being had. So this is another way to bring a social networking element into these videos.


‘As Seen On’ is a clever idea. My only issue with it is the fact that the websites and blogs that are part of it are being chosen by faceless admins rather than included for the right reasons. Should the number of people who read a particular site be the most important criteria?

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